Mission Trip Day Five: Coming Home

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I’m posting twice today to make up for missing yesterday (we were busy all day). The earlier post was from Frankfurt, Germany, where we had a long layover and now we’re in Philadelphia waiting for our final leg into Columbia. I’ll be able to sleep in my own bed tonight. By the way, if you hear any stories of me locking myself in the lavatory on the long flight here, I refuse to confirm or deny those reports. I will say, though, that if a flight attendant hadn’t happened by I might still be on that plane.

The picture above is of our team. These guys, along with one other who wasn’t able to make the trip, meet together every Wednesday night for an intentional discipling journey. We’ll do this for eight months then each of them will take a similar group through the same process. We study the Bible together, using a reading plan that takes us through all the Scriptures during our time together. We pray together. We seek the Lord together. We listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit together. The capstone of our time together is this trip, when we get away by ourselves to a place where the gospel is so real that it makes all we talk about take on a new sense of authenticity and urgency. I was able to follow the same pattern with a discipling group I led last year, and we saw the same results. You can’t go to a place like this without being stirred and challenged.

What we’re doing can’t be called a program or an organization. It’s just the simple way Christian disciples have always been made. Small groups gather around God’s Word and, in the power of his Spirit, determine to arrange their lives around the gospel instead of around the prevailing culture. There’s nothing complicated about it.

One powerful example stands out. Yesterday our large group was gathered to worship and pray, asking the Lord to bring the lost to us. One of my team the day before had met a lost young man from the nationality we were working with and invited him to come to our gathering place to learn more about our message. Our main partner was asked by the groups leader to pray specifically for that young man to come. As he got through praying, the young man walked through the door–really! It was amazing! And later that evening that young man came to faith. I don’t have to tell you how that moment shook up all of us.

An additional feature of this story was more humorous in a theological way. The partner who prayed is a devoted Calvinist and believes that God orders every last detail according to his will. I love this guy as a brother and rejoice at every opportunity to minister with him, but I am most definitely not a Calvinist. In fact, whenever we’re together we get into theological arguments discussions about Calvinism in general. Anyway, after the young man walked into the room following my friend’s prayer, I couldn’t help whispering in his ear a question that would make any Calvinist tremble: “If you had not prayed, would God still have brought that young man into this room?” He threatened to send me back to the States early if I didn’t keep my mouth shut.

I’m glad to be home and can’t wait for Easter morning when we can worship the risen Lord together!

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